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Obres de Jane Riley


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A fun little read, not always a light one, but I think he figures things out.
Jeffrey_G | Hi ha 6 ressenyes més | Nov 22, 2022 |
Geraldine Verne can’t get over the death of her husband. An unexpected friendship with a young meals on wheels volunteer helps her recover.
pennykaplan | Hi ha 2 ressenyes més | Dec 9, 2021 |
Jane Riley’s unusually titled debut novel The Likely Resolutions of Oliver Clock was something special – feel-good fiction at its finest and one of my favourite reads of 2020. And so I knew, despite this novel’s grief-stricken premise, that I would be in safe authorial hands.

Geraldine Verne’s Red Suitcase is a far gentler story than Riley’s first novel, but nonetheless impactful. Her capacity to craft believably flawed characters is again on full display in retired librarian Geri’s compulsion to obstinance and seclusion despite her loneliness. The first-person narrative allows readers to appreciate first-hand as it were, the layered depths of her love for her husband and thus comparable grief in his passing. And, how even the most vital of personalities and quick-witted, staunchly independent of minds can knowingly be held prisoner to grief.

The latter element is the well-spring of this novel’s more subtle, principally dark geeky humour. Also notable is Riley’s talent for visual humour and visual impact. For me, some of the most striking, bittersweet scenes depicted in this novel are those simply involving Geraldine Verne’s interaction with her scuffed and battered red suitcase. In this sense, this narrative’s lack of adornment is a real strength. Read full review >>
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BookloverBookReviews | Hi ha 2 ressenyes més | Sep 8, 2021 |
Seventy-two-year-old Geri is a widow; Jack, her husband of 50 years, has been dead for three months when we meet her. He asked her to scatter his ashes “somewhere exotic” but Geri finds it difficult to leave her house, feeling “stuck in a loop of self-isolation and brain fog.” She describes herself as “frozen in time, shackled to my self-pity, my grief, my fears.” A friend arranges for Meals on Wheels when she has a minor accident; Lottie, one of the volunteers, befriends Geri and tries to get her to rediscover her zest for life.

The book is about grief, about learning how to let go and move on. At one point Geri compares their love to a pair of shoes: “Jack and I complemented each other like a pair of shoes. A right shoe can never become a left and a left shoe can never become a right, but together they bring out the best in each other.” She has difficulty letting go “Because if I let him go, what would be left? The half that was me. One left shoe without its partner.” The red suitcase that she takes everywhere is a wonderful representation of her unwillingness to let go.

Geri is a likeable character. She is grieving and so not herself. She abandons personal hygiene and housekeeping and becomes anxious when she leaves her house, even if she has to walk only nine metres to pick up her newspaper. When a friend comes to her door, she doesn’t let him in: “I was happy to see him. I just didn’t want him to see me. To see the state I was in. How I no longer felt like the person I was before. How I didn’t know who I was anymore.”

Even though she is depressed and lonely, we are given glimpses of the Geri that could emerge if she can get past her grief. Her sense of humour is wonderful: “I slid under the covers feeling as dispirited as a non-alcoholic beverage.” Because we see these glimpses of a spirited woman, readers will cheer every positive step she takes.

I appreciated Geri’s emergence from her chrysalis. Because it is gradual, her change is convincing. And there are some steps backward too. I imagine some readers will feel that there is repetition as Geri seems to backslide into depression; I, however, found that her recovery is more realistic because of her emotional regressions.

This is one of those easy, heart-warming reads. Though it examines grief and the difficulty of moving on after great loss, it suggests there is hope: it is possible to bring new people and experiences into one’s life without dismissing or diminishing what one had with a beloved.

Note: I received a digital galley from the publisher via NetGalley.

Please check out my reader's blog ( and follow me on Twitter (@DCYakabuski).
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Schatje | Hi ha 2 ressenyes més | Jun 30, 2021 |


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